Here's MLB Pipeline's roundup of the top prospect performances in the Minor Leagues on Thursday.
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A pair of White Sox pitching prospects took center stage in the Minor Leagues on Thursday as both Dylan Cease and Dune Dunning dominated over eight innings for their respective affiliates.
Cease, the White Sox No. 5 prospect (No. 52 overall), helped Class A Advanced Winston-Salem lock up a first half, first-place finish in the Carolina League Southern division by pitching the Dash past Wilmington, 8-2. He allowed two earned runs on five hits and two walks with four strikeouts in a career-long outing. He also recorded 12 ground-ball outs and threw 70 of his season-high 106 pitches for strikes.
The hard-throwing 22-year-old righty improved to 9-2 in 13 starts with Thursday's victory, his third in as many starts. He hasn't taken a loss since May 11, when he allowed a season-high seven earned runs on nine hits in two innings. Since then, Cease has permitted three earned runs once in six starts while piling up 40 strikeouts in 37 1/3 innings.
Altogether, Cease owns a 2.89 ERA in 71 2/3 innings, during which he's compiled a Carolina League-leading 82 strikeouts while holding hitters to a .204 average.
Dunning was even more impressive in his start for Double-A Birmingham as the White Sox No. 6 prospect (No. 66 overall) yielded just four hits while setting season highs with 10 strikeouts and eight innings pitched. He threw 97 pitches in the outing, 68 for strikes.
Promoted to Birmingham from Winston-Salem in late April, Dunning, 23, has pitched to 2.78 ERA in 10 starts for the Barons. He has 65 strikeouts and 19 walks and is yet to allow a home run in 58 1/3 innings. Overall, Dunning sports a 2.72 ERA with a 96-to-22 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 82 2/3 innings (14 starts) between the two levels.
The rest of the best performances from top prospects Thursday
• Back in Triple-A after an uneventful, one-game stint in the big leagues, No. 11 overall prospect Francisco Mejia (Indians' No. 1) connected on a solo home run and a double before finishing 3-for-5 with three RBIs in Triple-A Columbus' win over Louisville. The 22-year-old switch-hitter has found his groove at the plate after a rocky start to his season, as the multihit performance was Mejia's fifth in his past seven games.
• No. 53 overall prospect Jo Adell (Angels' No. 1) connected on a first-inning home run to extend his hitting streak to 10 games for Class A Advanced Inland Empire. The homer, a two-run shot, was Adell's fourth in his past seven games and gives him 13 home runs in 47 games this season between Inland Empire and Class A Burlington. He finished the game 1-for-2 with a walk, two runs scored and his 10th stolen base.
• No. 99 overall prospect Alex Kirilloff (Twins' No. 6) pushed his Midwest League-leading home run total to 13 with a pair of blasts as part of a 4-for-6, four-RBI night for Class A Cedar Rapids in a 10-3 win over Kane County. It was the first four-hit performance and second multi-homer game this season for the 20-year-old outfielder, who also ranks first among the active circuit leaders in OPS (.994), slugging (.608), RBIs (55) and total bases (146). 2017 No. 1 overall pick Royce Lewis (Twins' No. 1, No. 18 overall) also collected multiple hits in the victory, going 2-for-5 with a pair of doubles, an RBI and two runs scored. He's hitting .291 for the season, with 21 extra-base hits and 16 steals in 53 games.
• Blue Jays No. 9 prospect T.J. Zeuch turned in the best start of his career for Double-A New Hampshire, continuing his recent string of dominance in the Eastern League. The 6-foot-7 righty kept Akron off the board for a career-high eight innings, as he allowed just two hits and one walk while striking out four. Zeuch's heavy sinker, meanwhile, netted him 15 ground-ball outs. A winner in five straight starts for the Fisher Cats, Zeuch's pitched to a 1.51 ERA over 35 2/3 frames in that span while registering at least 10 groundouts on four occasions.
• Cubs No. 18 prospect Keegan Thompson struck out eight batters over seven perfect innings for Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach, only to see the Pelicans' bullpen allow four runs in the following frame in an eventual loss against Carolina. It was the best start of Thompson's pro career, as the 23-year-old righty set career-best marks in both innings pitched and strikeouts. He's pitched to a 3.19 ERA and 0.92 WHIP in 12 starts, with 61 strikeouts and 13 walks in 67 2/3 innings.
• Pirates No. 10 prospect Taylor Hearn set a career-high with 10 strikeouts as he pitched Double-A Altoona past Binghamton, 9-2. Working six strong innings, the 23-year-old southpaw permitted two earned runs on six hits and two walks while finding the strike zone with 65 of his 94 pitches. He's racked up 25 strikeouts in 18 2/3 innings over his past three starts. Will Craig (No. 17) paced the Curve at the plate with this third home run in as many games before finishing 3-for-4 with a double, three runs scored and two RBIs. He's hitting .450 (9-for-20) with six extra-base hits and 11 RBIs over his last five games.
• Pirates No. 12 prospect Nick Kingham carried a no-hit bid into the seventh inning before completing eight scoreless innings of two-hit ball in Triple-A Indianapolis' 7-3 win over Toledo. He struck out six and did not issue a walk, throwing 67 of his 101 pitches for strikes in his first start back from his most recent stint in the Major Leagues. He's 3-1 in seven starts this season in the International League, with a 1.67 ERA and 0.93 WHIP in 37 2/3 innings.
• Red Sox No. 3 prospect Tanner Houck was unhittable over six innings as Class A Advanced Salem came within one out of throwing a combined no-hitter in a 6-1 win against Lynchburg. The 21-year-old righty posted four walks against three strikeouts and generated 13 ground-ball outs in what was easily his best pro start since being selected in the first round of the 2017 Draft.
• Rockies No. 20 prospect Jordan Patterson went 3-for-4 with four RBIs in his second two-homer game of the season for Triple-A Albuquerque. The 26-year-old went deep in the second and fourth innings, hitting a two-run blast followed by a solo shot and later adding an RBI single. With 13 home runs this season, Patterson is halfway towards his career-high total from 2017.
Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.